Tuesday 15 May 2007

PDs have new ideas for rural planning laws

THE Progressive Democrats have vowed to remove An Bord Pleanala's role in deciding rural planning matters if returned to government.

Launching its rural and agricultural manifesto yesterday, party president Tom Parlon proposed that three regional planning appeals boards will be established to decide if one-off housing should be approved.

Its package also contained provisions for more rural transport, tax breaks for farmers and support services for older people living alone in rural isolation.

Anyone living in a rural area for seven years will be entitled to build a home, while the party also plans a 'name and shame' campaign of those found to have breached planning laws.

Mr Parlon accused the Green Party of "disowning" a policy to ban live cattle exports.

"In this election campaign one of the most notable features has been the anxiety of some of the opposition parties to disown long-held policy positions in a bid to make themselves more acceptable to the voters before May 24th next," he said.

"The Green Party's animal welfare policy is very precise on this issue of crucial importance to the farming community. Let me quote directly from it: The Green Party does not promote or support live exports of animals.

"I leave it to the people of Ireland - and in this case the farmers of Ireland - to give their verdict on this kind of dishonest politics." But the Greens dismissed the comments as 'paranoid bluster', saying the party wanted to create local abattoirs and meat processing plants to encourage demand for fresh, healthy local produce rather than propagate a system that could place animals under undue stress.

"We recognise however that a viable alternative does not yet exist, and until it does we favour the phasing out over time of live exports," deputy leader Cllr Mary White said.

Paul Melia
Irish Independent

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